CRANAplus launches its inaugural Remote Area Nursing Pathway Program

11 Aug 2022

This July, CRANAplus launched its inaugural Remote Area Nursing Pathway Program. The nine-month program is supporting four CRANAplus Members to build clinical skills, resilience, and cultural safety in preparation for their transition to remote practice.

Melanie Avion, Pro­fes­sion­al Offi­cer at CRANAplus, remem­bers when she first start­ed work­ing as a remote area nurse.

I was ori­ent­ed to the air bags, the bags con­tain­ing med­ical sup­plies to put in a plane when going out to an acci­dent,” she says.

I was told, Here’s the chest tubes. Just put it between two ribs.’ There was no fly­ing doc­tor where we were. The nurse would get in with a pilot in a tiny, unpres­surised plane with the seats tak­en out.”

Clear­ly, I was underprepared.”

Moti­vat­ed by her expe­ri­ences as a young nurse, Melanie is com­mit­ted to ensur­ing nurs­es head­ing remote are pre­pared for what will be required of them.

CRANAplus launched this ini­tia­tive because of our knowl­edge as the peak organ­i­sa­tion rep­re­sent­ing remote area nurses.” 

We’ve been RANs. We know what they’re going through, and we know what works,” Melanie says.

We know they need emer­gency, pri­ma­ry health care, and pro­fes­sion­al skills, and knowl­edge on deliv­er­ing care in a cul­tur­al­ly safe man­ner; and also, it’s hard to dri­ve the jour­ney your­self and find a defined path­way from metro to rur­al to remote.

So, we decid­ed to build a holis­tic, wrap- around pro­gram encom­pass­ing edu­ca­tion, skills, cul­tur­al safe­ty, pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment, and career planning.”

Hawk­er, SA. Greg Brave – stock​.adobe​.com

Why exten­sive prepa­ra­tion is nec­es­sary for remote practice

Com­pared to acute nurs­ing, the role of a remote area nurse is a lot more autonomous, and your scope of prac­tice is broad­er,” Melanie says.

You’re not just in emer­gency, but chron­ic health prob­lems, from mater­ni­ty and birth, all the way through to pal­lia­tive care.

It’s like extreme nurs­ing… When some­thing hap­pens in a ter­tiary emer­gency, there are more peo­ple stand­ing there, prob­lem solv­ing and mak­ing it work.

When you put that nurse in a place where there’s only one oth­er nurse or maybe an Abo­rig­i­nal Health Work­er or a doc­tor next Wednes­day, that’s extreme.

If you want to go remote, we want you to be ready for it, pro­vide excel­lent care, and stay.”

If new-to-remote nurs­es are pre­pared and ready to go, and they pri­ori­tise their own well­be­ing, then we can cre­ate a more sus­tain­able workforce.

Reduced turnover means a high­er qual­i­ty of care because rela­tion­ships with com­mu­ni­ty and con­ti­nu­ity of care are the most impor­tant way to sup­port health care.

This pro­gram is about get­ting peo­ple out there, keep­ing them out there, and mak­ing sure they’re safe and hap­py so they want to be there.

At the end of this pro­gram, they’re not a ful­ly-fledged, pack­aged remote nurse, but they’re on the path to becom­ing one.”

Path­way sup­port for future RANs

In its first year, the Remote Area Nurs­ing Path­way Pro­gram is being under­tak­en by four CRANAplus Mem­bers who suc­cess­ful­ly applied for the asso­ci­at­ed Remote Area Nurs­ing Path­way Pro­gram Grant. 

This grant, sup­port­ed by the Nurs­es Memo­r­i­al Foun­da­tion of South Aus­tralia, cov­ered all fees for the includ­ed cours­es and offered a $500 bur­sary for each to assist with trav­el and accom­mo­da­tion costs.

CRANAplus CEO, Kather­ine Isbis­ter, reflects: The high num­ber of appli­ca­tions has high-light­ed the gap in cur­rent path­way sup­port and CRANAplus is explor­ing options for run­ning the pro­gram more broad­ly in the future.”

What’s includ­ed in the program?

  • CRANAplus Remote Emer­gency Care course.
  • CRANAplus Mater­ni­ty Emer­gency Care course.
  • The CRANAplus Online Clin­i­cal Assess­ment Suite.
  • A range of webi­na­rs fea­tur­ing guest speak­ers, designed to sup­port your pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment and pre­pared­ness for expand­ing your scope
    of prac­tice.
  • Resilience work­shops and pro­fes­sion­al reflec­tion activities.
  • Cul­tur­al safe­ty pro­fes­sion­al development.

For more infor­ma­tion see Remote Area Nurs­ing Path­way Pro­gram.